Native Youth Business Plan Competition

Native Youth Business Plan Competition

Application Deadline:

Wednesday, January 8, 2020, no later than 5 p.m.

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General Information

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), in partnership with the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) is proud to announce a Native Youth Business Plan Competition to be held in conjunction with the Reservation Economic Summit (RES) 2020. The competition will consist of a high school division and a college division. Brief business plans will be due in January and ten semifinalist teams will be selected to receive additional business mentorship and participate in the finalist competition held at RES 2020.

The competition is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs seeking start-up funds. The judges will decide which business venture they would most likely fund. The following will influence the judges’ decisions: the value created by the new product or service, the attractiveness of the market opportunity, the competitive advantage of the proposed venture, the operational and technological viability, the capability of the management team, the clarity and persuasiveness of the plan, and the capital requirements and financial forecast. Ultimately, the winning team should be the team in which the judges would most likely invest their money.

RES is a multifaceted event from NCAIED featuring unparalleled access to respected tribal leaders, members of Congress, federal agency representatives, state and local elected officials and top CEOs, on a national platform. RES is the Summit to attend for those looking for high caliber networking, winning teaming opportunities, business development sessions, one-on-one consulting, all centered around the American Indian Enterprise.

RES 2020 will be held from March 1-5, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Native Youth Business Plan Finalist Competition will be held on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Semifinalists will be required to attend workshops during the day related to business and entrepreneurship and participate in the evening finalist competition.

Ten semifinalist teams (5 high school division teams and 5 college division teams) will be awarded travel scholarships that cover registration, airfare, lodging, meals and ground transportation to attend RES 2020 to pitch their business plans in front of a panel of Native judges and investors.

The top three teams from each division will be awarded small prizes to aid in their business ventures. The first-place teams will receive $7,500, second-place will receive $5,000 and third-place will receive $2,500.

About First Nations Development Institute

For 39 years and through a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore control and stewardship of tribal assets to Native communities — be they land, human, cultural, economic, or natural resources. First Nations serves American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.

About National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. With over 40 years of assisting American Indian Tribes and their enterprises with business and economic development – we have evolved into the largest national Indian specific business organization in the nation. Our motto is: “We Mean Business For Indian Country” as we are actively engaged in helping Tribal Nations and Native business people realize their business goals and are dedicated to putting the whole of Indian Country to work to better the lives of American Indian people- both now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.ncaied.org


The Native Youth Business Plan Competition is open to teams of two to three Native youth who must be able to attend a one-day workshop and on-stage competition on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at the Reservation Economic Summit (RES). Youth semifinalists are welcome to attend the entire RES Summit which will be held March 1-5, 2020 at the Paris Las Vegas hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Members of each team must be affiliated with a state- or federally-recognized tribe and must be between 14 to 24 years of age. The competition will consist of a high school division and college division. Teams are required to have up to three youth of the same age group/division. You cannot have one high school youth and one college youth.



All applicants must complete the First Nations online grant application, including submission of necessary attachments, no later than Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time. Unfortunately, First Nations cannot make any emergency exceptions to application deadlines. Partial applications, incomplete applications due to user error, or faxed/emailed/mailed applications will not be considered unless they have received prior approval.

Applications are due WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8, 2020, no later than 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

First Nations recognizes that some of our most rural and remote applicants may have limited access to high-speed Internet. Any exceptions to use of the online system must be made at least two weeks in advance of the application deadline by submitting an email request to grantmaking@firstnations.org. Please include your name, organization, contact information, and the name of the RFP for which you are applying. If you do not have access to email you can call our office at (303) 774-7836 and ask to speak with a member of the Grantmaking Department.

Download instructions for First Nations’ Online Application System here.

Access First Nations’ Online Application system here.

The following attachments must be uploaded during the online submission process:

  • Attachment A: Tribal Documentation. Proof of tribal affiliation (i.e. scanned copy of your Tribal Enrollment card, official letter from tribe stating membership of Indian Blood, etc.). Native Hawaiians may submit a copy of their birth certificate stating Hawaiian ancestry OR information from a registry indicating Native Hawaiian ancestry.
  • Attachment B: Parental/Guardian Consent Form. (Download here). Applicants under 18 years of age must have parental/guardian consent to attend the business plan competition on March 3, 2020, at the Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Attachment C: Chaperone Consent Form. (Download here). Semifinalist teams where all applicants are under 21 years of age are required to have an individual age 21 or older accompany them at the conference. First Nations will pay for one chaperone per team if needed.
  • Attachment D: Supporting Materials (Optional). Any additional items or research you have done to support your business venture (limited to 3).
Selection Criteria

Applications consist of a simplified business plan and are rated according to several criteria and a scoring matrix. The brief plan should cover several important matters that will contribute to making your business concept a success. Sections that will need to be addressed are:

  1. Executive Summary: This is a snapshot of your business concept and product/service.
  2. Market Analysis: Research on your industry, this is where you identify who your competitors are.
  3. Marketing & Sales: Describe how you will promote your product or service. Do this by answering the 5 P’s of marketing.
  4. Budget & Financial Projections: How much money will you need to start up your business and how much do you plan to make.

Applications will be evaluated on a scoring matrix considering the following:

  • Value Created by the New Product or Service
  • Attractiveness of the Market Opportunity
  • Competitive Advantage of the Proposed Venture
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Capital Requirements and Financial Forecast


Grant Requirements

In addition to mandatory attendance in the youth workshops and finalist competition on March 3, 2020, semifinalist teams will be paired with a mentor to help them fully flesh out their business plans. Youth will be expected to work remotely or in-person, when able, with their mentors to address weaknesses in their business concepts and address additional aspects such as organizational management and operational and technical viability. A revised version of the application addressing all components of a business plan will be submitted on March 1, 2020, prior to the final competition.

Semifinalists under 21 years of age are required to have an adult chaperone accompany them at the conference. First Nations will pay for one chaperone per team, if needed. Semifinalists under the age of 18 years of age are also required to submit a signed parental/guardian consent form with their application.


First Nations will host 2 optional Question & Answer (Q&A) Sessions for interested applicants prior to the application deadline. These Q&A sessions will provide an opportunity for applicants to ask questions about the application, selection criteria, guidelines, or other related questions. Participation is NOT mandatory; however, applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in one of the calls.

Application Q&A Sessions will be held on:

  • Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 10:00 A.M. Mountain Standard Time

To register, please go to: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3636456991131608077

  • Thursday, December 19, 2019 at 4:00 P.M. Mountain Standard Time

To register, please go to: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5711933622628663053

  • Friday, December 27 at 1:00 P.M. Mountain Standard Time

To register, please go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7879901172611128844

Should you have additional questions about the RFP or this specific opportunity, please contact Kendall Tallmadge by email at ktallmadge@firstnations.org or by phone at 303-774-7836.